Title:
Aircraft fuselage with high strength frames
United States Patent 8899522


Abstract:
A fuselage section of an aircraft includes a skin, a plurality of frames positioned transversely to a longitudinal axis of a fuselage of the aircraft, and a plurality of longitudinal stringers at least one of which is configured with a closed transversal section including a stringer hat, two stringer webs, and two stringer feet joined to the skin. At least one of the frames is configured in at least one sector with a frame foot joined to the skin, a frame web having holes at crossing zones with the stringers, a frame cap, and a frame cap extension which does not interfere with the stringers. The frames are joined to, at least, the stringer hats at crossing zones of the frames and the stringer hats.



Inventors:
Vinue Santolalla, Eduardo (Madrid, ES)
Folch Cortes, Diego (Madrid, ES)
Martino Gonzalez, Esteban (Madrid, ES)
Guinaldo Fernandez, Enrique (Salamanca, ES)
Goya Abaurrea, Pablo (Madrid, ES)
Application Number:
13/229927
Publication Date:
12/02/2014
Filing Date:
09/12/2011
Assignee:
Airbus Operations, S.L. (Madrid, ES)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
244/131
International Classes:
B64C1/06; B64C1/12
Field of Search:
244/117R, 244/119, 244/120, 244/131, 52/245, 52/246, 52/474, 52/664, 52/665, 52/655.1
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
8490920Composite bulkhead and skin construction2013-07-23Karem244/119
8480030Structural component and method for stiffening an external skin2013-07-09Stephan244/119
20120248247AIRCRAFT FUSELAGE WITH HIGH STRENGTH FRAMES2012-10-04Vinue Santolalla et al.244/119
20120132756SHELL SEGMENT FOR PRODUCING A FUSELAGE CELL SECTION FOR A FUSELAGE CELL OF AN AIRPLANE2012-05-31Roming et al.244/131
8038099Bonded metal fuselage and method for making the same2011-10-18Anast et al.244/119
7963477Aircraft that comprises a structure that ensures the structural and electrical functions2011-06-21Soula et al.244/1A
20110001010ARRANGEMENT OF TWO FUSELAGE SECTIONS OF AN AIRCRAFT AND A CONNECTING STRUCTURE FOR CONNECTING FUSELAGE SKINS2011-01-06Tacke et al.244/131
20100308165STRUCTURAL FRAME MADE OF A COMPOSITE MATERIAL AND AIRCRAFT FUSELAGE COMPRISING SUCH A FRAME2010-12-09Markowski et al.244/119
20100272954Method for Coupling Stiffening Profile Elements and Structural Component2010-10-28Roming et al.428/138
7716835Methods of manufacturing structural panels2010-05-18Johnson et al.29/897.2
20090272846BONDED METAL FUSELAGE AND METHOD FOR MAKING THE SAME2009-11-05Anast et al.244/120
20090121081Composite Bulkhead and Skin Construction2009-05-14Karem244/119
20080251636AIRCRAFT THAT COMPRISES A STRUCTURE THAT ENSURES THE STRUCTURAL AND ELECTRICAL FUNCTIONS2008-10-16Soula et al.244/1A
7134629Structural panels for use in aircraft fuselages and other structures2006-11-14Johnson et al.244/119
20050263645Structural panels for use in aircraft fuselages and other structures2005-12-01Johnson et al.244/119
6766984Stiffeners for aircraft structural panels2004-07-27Ochoa244/119
5242523Caul and method for bonding and curing intricate composite structures1993-09-07Willden et al.
4425980Beam dampers for damping the vibrations of the skin of reinforced structures1984-01-17Miles181/208
3976269Intrinsically tuned structural panel1976-08-24Gupta244/119
3071217Vibration damping in sheet metal structures1963-01-01Gould52/403.1
2389767Structural frame1945-11-27Dalton52/506.06



Foreign References:
DE102004035170B32005-08-18Process for manufacturing a cylindrical sheet metal part provided with ribs and stringers, especially an airplane fuselage, comprises attaching ribs in raised stringer/rib connector regions elastically deforming the shell part
DE102007029500A12009-01-02Verfahren zum Koppeln von Versteifungsprofilelementen sowie Strukturbauteil
FR1345076A1963-12-06Perfectionnement aux structures à revêtement mince renforcé par des éléments longitudinaux et transversaux
FR2906008A12008-03-21ECLISSE DE LISSES ET DISPOSITIF DE JONCTION ORBITALE
WO2009000734A22008-12-31METHOD FOR COUPLING STIFFENING PROFILE ELEMENTS AND STRUCTURAL COMPONENT
Other References:
International Search Report and Written Opinion issued Oct. 16, 2012 in PCT/ES2012/070202 filed Mar. 26, 2012.
Spanish Search Report issued Mar. 20, 2013 in Patent Application No. 201130497 with English language translation of categories of cited documents.
U.S. Appl. No. 13/339,897, filed Dec. 29, 2011, Gonzalez, et al.
Primary Examiner:
Sanderson, Joseph W.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, L.L.P.
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A fuselage section of an aircraft, comprising: a skin, a plurality of frames positioned transversely to a longitudinal axis of a fuselage of the aircraft, and a plurality of longitudinal stringers at least one of which is configured with a closed transversal section comprising a stringer hat, two stringer webs, and two stringer feet joined directly to the skin, wherein at least one of said frames is configured in at least one sector with a frame foot joined to the skin, a frame web having holes at crossing zones with said stringers, a frame cap, and a frame cap extension which does not interfere with the stringers; and said frames are joined directly to, at least, the stringer hats at crossing zones of the frames and the stringer hats.

2. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein: at least one of said frames also comprises a second foot extending from said cap extension; and said second foot is joined to the stringer hats at crossing zones of the second foot and the stringer hats.

3. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein said frames are joined to the stringer hats at the crossing zones of the frames and the stringer hats using angular plates so that one side of the angular plates is joined to the cap extensions of the frames and another side of the angular plates is joined to the stringer hats.

4. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein: the cap extensions of said frames include connecting parts with the stringer hats at crossing zones of the cap extensions and the stringer hats; and said connecting parts include connecting extensions that are joined to the stringer hats.

5. The fuselage section according to any of claims 1-3 and 4, wherein bonding between the stringer feet and the skin is reinforced by rivets at stringer sections where the frames are joined to the stringer hats.

6. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein at least the frame webs have a curved or corrugated shape.

7. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein at least the frame caps have a curved or corrugated shape.

8. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein an angle between the frame feet and the frame webs is comprised between 90° and 170°.

9. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein an angle between the frame caps and the frame cap extensions is comprised between 90° and 170°.

10. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein said skin, said frames, and said stringers are made of a composite material.

11. The fuselage section according to claim 1, wherein the frame web and the frame cap extension are attached to opposite ends of the frame cap, and the frame web and the frame cap extension both extend obliquely relative to the frame cap.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention refers to an aircraft fuselage and more particularly to an aircraft fuselage with high strength frames.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The aeronautical industry requires structures which, on the one hand, support the loads to which they are subjected fulfilling high stiffness and resistance demands and, on the other hand, are as light as possible. A consequence of this requirement is the continuously expanding use of composite materials in primary structures because, by conveniently applying these materials, an important weight reduction can be achieved compared with structures designed with metallic materials.

The composite materials that are most used in the aeronautical industry consist of fibers or fiber bundles embedded in a matrix of thermosetting or thermoplastic resin, in the form of a preimpregnated or “prepreg” material. Its main advantages refer to:

    • Their high specific strength with respect to metallic materials. It is the strength/weight equation.
    • Their excellent behaviour under fatigue loads.
    • The possibilities of structural optimization thanks to the anisotropy of the material and the possibility of combining fibers with different orientations, allowing the design of the elements with different mechanical properties adjusted to the different needs in terms of applied loads.

As is well known, the main structural elements of aircraft fuselages are the skin, the frames and the stringers. The skin is stiffened longitudinally with stringers to reduce the skin thickness, making it more competitive in terms of weight, while the frames avoid the overall instability of the fuselage and can be subjected to the introduction of local loads. Other structural elements can be found inside an aircraft fuselage, such as beams, which act as a frame for open sections of the fuselage or which are used to withstand the loads introduced by the cabin floor of the aircraft.

The fuselage structure made out of composite materials which is nowadays more commonly used consists, on the one hand, of a skin with integrated stringers, co-bonded or co-cured, and on the other hand, of complete or floating frames which are manufactured separately and which are then riveted to the fuselage skin. The document U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,523 describes a structure such as this one combining the use of omega-shaped stringers with C-shaped frames.

Omega-shaped stringers have been widely used in fuselages in the past few years because they have a high inertia and can provide support and stability to a great skin panel due to its geometry. These characteristics, along with the advantages it presents for its manufacture, due to the simplification and reduction of the tooling, and therefore of cost, make its use in the reinforcement of fuselage skins very interesting.

Regarding frames both open and closed section frames have been proposed for fuselages. Open section shaped frames such as the frames used in U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,523 are indeed convenient from a manufacturing point of view although require high stabilized webs while closed section shaped frames, such omega-shaped frames, that have a higher strength, raise manufacturing problems.

The present invention focuses on finding a solution for these drawbacks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a highly resistant aircraft fuselage structure.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a highly resistant aircraft fuselage structure fully made of a composite material that allows a manufacturing simplification.

These and other objects are met by a fuselage section of an aircraft whose structure comprises a skin, a plurality of frames positioned transversely to the longitudinal axis of the fuselage and a plurality of longitudinal stringers configured with a closed transversal section comprising a hat, two webs and two feet joined to the skin, in which:

    • said frames are configured in at least one its sectors with a foot joined to the skin, a web (at an angle with the foot comprised between 90° and 170°) having holes at the crossing zones with said stringers, a cap and a cap extension (at an angle with the cap comprised between 90° and 170°) which does not interfere with the stringers;
    • said frames are joined to, at least, the stringer hats at their crossing zones.

In embodiments of the present invention said frames also comprise a second foot extending from said cap extension that is joined to the stringer hats at their crossing zones. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers that provides a highly resistant framework.

In embodiments of the present invention said frames are joined to the stringer caps at their crossing zones using angular plates so that one of its sides is joined to the cap extensions of the frames and the other side is joined to the stringer hats. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers that simplifies the fuselage manufacturing.

In embodiments of the present invention said frames are joined to the stringers at their crossing zones using intermediate fittings having a side that is joined to the cap extensions of the frames and flanges or feet that are joined, respectively, to the stringer webs or feet. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers that provides a reinforced joining between frames and stringers.

In embodiments of the present invention the cap extensions of said frames include connecting parts with the stringer hats at their crossing zones and said connecting parts include connecting extensions that are joined to the stringer hats. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers where the configuration of the frames include the connecting parts with the stringer hats.

In embodiments of the present invention, the bonding between the stringer feet and the skin is reinforced by means of rivets at the stringer sections where the frames are joined to the stringer hats. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers avoiding debonding risks between stringers and skin due to the frame loading introduction on the stringers.

In embodiments of the present invention the frame webs and/or the frame caps have a curved or corrugated shape. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames with closed section shaped stringers improving the buckling strength of the frames.

In embodiments of the present invention said skin, said frames and said stringers are made of a composite material. Therefore it is provided a fuselage structure using a combination of open section shaped frames adapted to the features of the composite material for, particularly, reducing manufacturing costs.

Other characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be clear from the following detailed description of embodiments illustrative of its object in relation to the attached figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a and 1b show, respectively, schematic transversal sections of two closed-shaped stringers.

FIGS. 2a and 2b show, respectively, schematic transversal sections of two S-shaped frames according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view of an embodiment of the assembly between closed-shaped stringers and S-shaped frames in an aircraft fuselage according to this invention.

FIG. 4 is a schematic perspective view of another embodiment of the assembly between closed-shaped stringers and S-shaped frames in an aircraft fuselage according to this invention.

FIG. 5a is a partial lateral view of FIG. 4 and FIGS. 5b, 5c and 5d are transversal views by sections A-A, B-B, C-C of FIG. 5a.

FIG. 6 is a schematic perspective view of another embodiment of the assembly between closed-shaped stringers and S-shaped frames in an aircraft fuselage according to this invention.

FIG. 7a is a partial lateral view of FIG. 6 and FIGS. 7b, 7c and 7d are transversal views by sections A-A, B-B, C-C of FIG. 7a.

FIGS. 8a and 8b show fittings that can be used in the embodiment of FIG. 4.

FIGS. 9a-9d are identical to FIGS. 5a-5d with the exception that the frame include corrugations in the web and in the cap and reinforcing rivets between the stringers and the skin.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The main structural elements of an aircraft fuselage according to this invention are the skin, closed-shaped longitudinal stringers and S-shaped circumferential frames that can be made of metallic or composite materials.

Within the meaning of this invention a close-shaped stringer is a stringer 20 having a closed transversal section, as the omega-shaped section shown in FIG. 1a or the Π-shaped section shown in FIG. 1b, configured by a hat 21, two webs 23, 25 and two feet 27, 29 to be joined to the skin of the fuselage, and an S-shaped frame is a frame 30 having a semi-closed transversal section configured as shown in FIG. 2a by a foot 31 to be joined to the skin 10, a web 33 at an angle with the foot 31 comprised between 90° and 170°, a cap 35 and a cap extension 37 at an angle with the cap comprised between 90° and 170°. It can also include a second foot 39 further to the cap extension 37 as shown in FIG. 2b.

One embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 3 where the frames 30 and the stringers 20 are dimensioned so that, among other requirements, the frames 30 are joined to the stringers hats 21 through the frames second foot 39.

Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 where the frames 30 and stringers 20 are dimensioned so that, among other requirements, the frames 30 are joined to the stringer hat 21 through intermediate angular parts 41 with a side joined to the frame cap extensions 37 and the other side joined to the stringer hat 21.

FIGS. 5a to 5d illustrate in detail the intersection between a frame 30 and a stringer 20 with, among others, the following features in said intersection:

    • the frame webs 33 have mouse holes 34 for the stringers 20;
    • the frame feet 31 has joggles 32 so that it can mount over the stringer feet 27, 29;
    • the frame cap extensions 37 have protrusions 38 to receive one side of said angular part 41.

The joining means between the frame cap extensions 37/the stringer hats 21 and the intermediate plates 41 can be rivets 43 as shown in FIG. 5c or adhesive means.

Instead of using the intermediate angular parts 41, the joining between frames 30 and stringer 20 can be made by means of fittings 52, 53, shown in FIGS. 8a and 8b, with a planar side 54, 55 to be joined to the frame cap extensions 37 and flanges 56, 58/feet 57, 59 to be joined to the stringer webs 23, 25/stringer feet 27, 29.

FIGS. 9a-9d show a parallel embodiment to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5a-5d where the frame web 33 and the frame cap 35 have corrugated shapes for improving its buckling strength. They can also have also curved shapes for the same purpose. In FIG. 9c there can be seen rivets 69 joining the stringer foot 27 to the skin 10 at an stringer section where a frame 30 is joined to an stringer hat 21 to reduce the possible debonding of stringer 20 and skin 10 due to frame loading introduction on stringer. These reinforcement may be applicable to all the embodiments of this invention.

Another embodiment of the invention shown is in FIGS. 6 and 7 where the frames 30 and stringers 20 are dimensioned so that, among other requirements, the frames 30 are joined to the stringer hats 21 through connecting parts 63 integrated on the frames 30.

FIGS. 7a to 7d illustrate in detail the intersection between a frame 30 and a stringer 20 with, among others, the following features in said intersection:

    • the frame webs 33 have mouse holes 34 for the stringers 20;
    • the frame feet 31 has joggles 32 so that it can mount over the stringer feet 27, 29;
    • the frame cap extensions 37 have connecting parts 63 with connecting extensions 65 to be joined to the stringer hats 21.

The joining means between said connecting horizontal extensions 65 and the stringer hats 21 can be bonding means or rivets.

Among others, this invention has the following advantages:

    • S-frames have higher strength than conventional open section frames. They allow bigger inertia frames by means of higher height frames with longer webs auto stabilized. The corrugated shape improves its buckling behavior.
    • No need to add complex radial stiffener because S-shaped frames have an increased warping strength due to the inclination of the frames web and to the cap extensions that are supported by the stringers, avoiding lateral displacements.
    • S-shaped frames have lighter weight than omega-shaped frames (only one full web, only one mouse hole needed).
    • S-shaped frames with open section have an improved accessibility for inspection, maintenance and assembly with respect to omega-shaped frames with closed section.
    • S-shaped frames with only one foot to be joined to the skin allow easier installation and assembly at manufacturing, reducing the time needed for riveting or bonding tasks.
    • S-shaped frames allow improvements in the manufacturing of frames, particularly in the de-moulding step.
    • S-shaped frames allow the possibility of including fittings inside a pair of frames for punctual loads introduction on fuselage as at horizontal and vertical tail plane attachments.

Although the present invention has been fully described in connection with preferred embodiments, it is evident that modifications may be introduced within the scope thereof, not considering this as limited by these embodiments, but by the contents of the following claims.